Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Peeling

Graeae , Assembly Rooms, edinburgh , August-15-03
Here we have three actresses relegated to being just the chorus, an important part of the Greek drama The Trojan Women. They're a sparky bunch and you'd think they'll find bigger parts in future productions but will they? Kaite O'Reilly's play for Graeae, first performed in 2002 at Birmingham Rep, is a very funny, very pointed look at the obstacles the "Norms" put in the way of those of us who are disabled by their world. I laughed a lot despite the glares of the woman next to me. Did it ever cross her mind that people in the audience could be laughing at her and the rest of the "norms" who make our lives hard?

Alpha in this production is the deaf actress Ali Briggs, Beaty is Lizzie Smoczkiewicz who like me has an "invisible" difference while Coral is Sophie Partridge whose small body contains a large talent. All deliver performances to treasure where though the script has sharp points to make, we really feel we're eavesdropping on people who unfairly and rarely if ever get the limelight. The costume design by Kevin Freeman ensures we concentrate on the people before us, making them fascinating beings, not objects. War and its aftermath are also contained in Peeling nor is that the end to the script's encompassing, it opens us up to that touchy, dangerous ground - not having children but looked at from a different angle. The production also has the best, most active and creative surtitling by Claire Saddleton I have ever seen much appreciated by ALL the audience.

Never angry, or didactic but quietly and humourously reminding that the world is ill divided, Graeae has in Peeling a production which is finely theatrical and challenging to "Norms" and differently abled alike. This review was written by a dyslexic editor and critic, in case you are wondering about me. Sisters and brothers can do it for themselves but we all need to lift the barriers.
Thelma Good August 2003 - Published first on EdinburghGuide.com
Company Graeae. Peeling script is published by Faber
Company Website members.lycos.co.uk/graeae/

Reviewed by: Thelma Good

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